Hands

The other night, in the wee small hours of the morning, I tiptoed into Sean’s room to check on him. I’m way beyond the days of checking on him 3 or 4 or 20 times a night to see if he is still breathing as I did those first several months of his life. Yet sometimes, something invisible gently stirs me into wakefulness and calls me to his room in the middle of the night to look at him.

Sure enough all was well. His little boy form, bathed in the amber glow of the nightlight lay peaceful and motionless.

As I turned to leave, I heard him whisper, “Mommy, will you lay down with me?”

“Sean, I didn’t know you were awake. Why are you awake?”

“Will you?” he pleaded with a desperate catch in his voice, “Will you please lay down with me? For a little while?”

“Sure” I said. “Move over.”

And so he did.

I should say here, that the bed Sean sleeps in is not really a big boy bed or even a youth bed. It is basically a crib six inches off the ground. It is so tiny it is straight out of The Three Bears and I am Goldilocks. If I contort myself just right I can snuggle up with him in this tiny bed. If I lay there much longer than 20 minutes, I can’t feel any of my limbs or walk upright the next day, but it’s a small price to pay, temporarily paralysis in exchange for snuggling.

I wedged myself in beside him. With his head tucked under my chin, he squirmed and squiggled and shifted until he had sufficiently pressed his bony backside into my tummy, just as he did in the days that I carried him in my body. He reached around for my hand and pulled it across him like a belt and then he wove his fingers between mine.

“Here’s the church,” he yawned. “Here’s the steeple….”

And then he gave up, too tired to continue.

Then, with his other hand, he covered our interlaced fingers. It struck me as an odd thing for a four-year-old to do. It was an old man sort of thing to do, this nestling of my hand, like a bird, into his two small hands.

 In the thinning morning darkness, I watched him stroke and pet our clasped hands as he drifted back to sleep. I flashed upon that day in 2003 when I first saw his hands on the sonogram – tiny, shaky, translucent fingers reaching for the light of this world and then shielding his eyes from the harshness of it.

I thought of how those little hands reached out for me as he took his first unsteady steps. I wondered how many more times he will seek my hand. Before he won’t. Dear God, bless me, that I might always be there to hold his hand and steady him as he goes, for as long as he needs me.

Then I flashed forward to the appointed day when that one clear call is for me. And on that day, it will be my shaky, translucent fingers that reach for the light of the next world and then shield my eyes from the glory of it. Dear God, bless me, that he might be there to hold my hand and steady me as I go into that great goodnight.

In that moment, and just for that moment, I felt as though I understood something of eternity.

Finally his hands stopped moving. He had fallen back to sleep. I slowly extricated myself from the tiny boy and the tiny bed. I stood over him for a moment, praying over him, that goodness and mercy will surely follow him all the days of his life.

I never tire of looking at him.

I hobbled back to bed.

The Original Perfect Post Awards – Jan 08

111 thoughts on “Hands

  1. I have just recently found your blog. You have an exceptional way with words and I cannot wait to keep reading your posts. Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment in your life. It reminds me that I need to take more time for those sweet moments and really enjoy them because they won’t last forever.

    Like

  2. I know it is almost a year later since this was posted. I just found your blog. This sums it all up. You are a wonderful, insiteful and so blessed mom. I feel like I was holding his little hand with you and I know so much of how you felt.

    Like

  3. Amazing. You two give such a prophetic image, and your son put it to words. “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple.” We are God’s children and need to be that intimate with Him as you are with your son. It’s amazing!

    Like

  4. Saw you on the Perfect Post and want you to know that is the most sweet and powerful post I’ve seen lately.

    We were actually talking about our kids the other day and how we shouldn’t take advantage of when they want to cuddle with us because unfortunately one day they will feel they are ‘too old’ for that and how we should just love it now.

    Like

  5. I will never tire of reading what you write. I tend away from the emotional, but you have a way of putting things that leaves me no choice. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder of why I shouldn’t go kill my 3 crazy kids for destroying my bathroom with water….

    Like

  6. I’m glad I’m not the only one crying! My children (7 & 11) both would have me sleep with them every night. You’ve made me rethink being irritated by it!

    Like

  7. As I read your words I knew exactly what you were describing and feeling because I have been there myself with my son, though it has been many years. He just turned 21. How the years have flown. But we did cherish the ones we had. Thank you for the beautiful post. 🙂

    Like

  8. There needs be a Not Suitalbe for Work Because You Will Be Crying You Weenie label on some of your stuff. If you can come up with a better label tan NSFWBYWBCYW…let me know

    Like

  9. Wow. What a beautiful story, and so touching. I just had my first child, a son, who is now 6 weeks old and this really made me look forward to cherished moments with him. Thank you.

    Like

  10. I remember now why I used to read your blog daily, and then got busy and didn’t…..now I am reminded what a way with words you have; an ability to put in words what so many of us feel and yet cannot express as eloquently. thanks for blessing me today.

    Like

  11. Here I am weeping at my desk. Honestly, This is how I WANT to feel about my kids…but I’m Just so tired. I’m tired of the screaming and the bickering and the he touched me and shes looking at me…Im tired of the ripped books and the broken toys and the screaming, did I mention the screaming. I am 28 years old and I fall into bed at night utterly exhausted… and a few days a week my little guy crawls into bed with me in the middle of the night and curls in… then his sister crawls into bed with us and I think this is nice…and before I can finish my thought…. “AHHHUHHHHH EMILYS SQUISHING ME!” … in these moments I wonder how long 18 years really is??? (editors note: I do love them… just wish they came with a mute button).

    Like

  12. how beautiful your insite! I love when real things become poignant! Thank you for sharing your heart, I too hope The Father will take my earthly translucent hand & take me across the realms of time! Bless you!

    Like

  13. Lord, help me to remember this when I am tired and groggy in the middle of the night and the Princess wakes me up after having a nightmare. Sometimes, it is so hard to be as comforting as I shoule be when I am half asleep. I would love to be able to have thoughts like these despite my grogginess.

    Thank you, AM, for reminding me to be grateful for the awesome gift He has given me at all times.

    Like

  14. Okay, I thought I posted here – but must have posted on somebody else’s blog who has no clue what my post meant 🙂
    In essence, this is what I said:
    oh AM,
    You really should write a book entitled “prayers of mothers” which include some of these beautiful posts – please???

    Like

  15. You have me weeping. Weeping.

    Thanks AM, for always finding the words for what is in my heart and offering them up. I think I’ll print this out for the days when I find it hard to see my blessings.

    This is a wonderful gift you have.

    Like

  16. Nose running,eyes running…..thank you so much for the gift of your words. I have seven children and God is Good. I feel so close to you, as you daily echo my thoughts. You put down in writing what I only have time to think in my head. Sunshine

    Like

  17. I came across your blog accidentally and try to read it whenever I get a chance. As I read this particular entry, with tears finding their way down my cheeks, I am eager to go check on my little angels. As we have just wrapped up one of those, oh so difficult days that sometimes pop-up, your entry has helped me to catch my breath and feel renewed for the wonderful/draining job that is motherhood.

    I’m off to look at my little ones’ hands, feet, noses etc.

    Like

  18. Oh! I loved this post! I also try to to savor every second of the precious years of my kids’ childhood. Sometimes I look at them and wonder how they can grow overnight it seems. I used to ask my little princess “Who are you? Who are you for real?” I’m so excited to see what they will become, what sort of adults. And I also feel protected when I’m with them, or even when I say their names like a mantra.
    Thank you AM for such a beautiful post. You have a gift.

    Like

  19. I was visitng another blog and was instructed to click over to yours. I’m glad I did. I’m a grandmother now and my 16-month grandson lives in my home. I feel the same way. I also love how he looks at me with those puppy dog eyes and reaches for me to pick him up everytime he sees me.

    Grandma might be complaining about an aching back and creeky knees but the pain seems t go away when he’s around. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Like

  20. I read your words and fell headlong into the long-ago memories of night time snuggles and the tenderness of small hands—-warm and solid little hands that I never really connected to those ghostly, translucent sonogram hands waving in my womb. I fell so deeply that I never saw it coming. Then your insight took away my breath.

    I am a mother of boys, but one who is far closer to the Clear Call than to the rocking chair. The imagery in this piece, not only of the role reversal, but of the reversal of strength and nurture was both arresting and reassuring.

    You are right. It was a glimpse of eternity.

    Like

  21. I am not an easy cry. But…this one did it. Waterworks full force! I do try to enjoy every waking (and sleeping!) moment with my little girl, knowing that someday soon (hopefully not too soon) she will think I’m the stupidest creature to walk the earth.

    Like

  22. Beautifully developed and articulated. As I reach out my hand to my son, I simultaneously watch my father reach out his hand to his aging mother. Oh that we would remember to value age as we do youth.

    Like

  23. oh what a beautiful post! you have such a way with words that brings the true emotions of the moment though. i love your blog because we seem to share the same feelings for our sons and you have a way of articulating how my boys make me feel. i love the moments like what you described. each time i find myself sharing one with my boys it does make me think of when they are too old and too cool for some love from mom. but the way they love me know, it is just beyond words and the best gift in the world.

    Like

  24. Lump in my throat, and a tear in my eye. My gosh, and I’m a grown man (Paw Paw)! Ohhh well, what a touching moment…….and I am fortunate enough to experience these same things with a Grandson of 5.

    Like

  25. I have to echo what has been said – beautiful! You have been given a great ability to communicate through the written word. So glad you share this ability with us.

    Like

  26. Beautiful. (I love these moments with my three year old son, who very often wants me to lie down with him for a snuggle. I will miss it so when he outgrows it. You described it so well.)

    Like

  27. Oh goodness, edit edit edit!

    I meant to say, “I don’t know if it’s my mother’s way of still being there for me — through her — or what.”

    Like

  28. That was so extremely beautiful and poignant.

    Sometimes, and this might sound weird, my 8-yr-old daughter comforts me in a way I can hardly describe. I just get this specific feeling from her that I have only gotten from one other person in my life before, and that was my mother. I sometimes wonder if it’s not my mother’s way of still being there me–through her–or what. I also wonder if my mother ever felt comforted by me when I was that age? Is it abnormal for an almost 40-yr-old woman to feel comforted and secure in the arms of her small child? I don’t know, but I wish I could freeze those moments in time. –Acutally, every moment I have with my children.

    Like

  29. Goodness. What an emotional roller coaster. I just read Pioneer Woman’s latest installment of how she met her husband where I was laughing out loud. Now I’m sitting here quietly weeping at the blessing our children are. I need to go do some laundry or something.

    Like

  30. Stop tearing me up in the middle of the day when I’m supposed to be cracking whips and dawdling over the Mt. Everest of laundry.
    I should have reserved this for the “sit down with a nice glass of Merlot” read.
    Love it. Every word. Amen.
    “I hobbled back to bed.” Love the spritz of humor at the end of a beautiful bathing.

    Like

  31. This was lovely – and I have one very precious ultrasound picture of one of my kids waving, in utereo, and the ultrasound nurse wrote “Hi, mom and dad!” above it. A treasure.

    Like

  32. I love the ElfGirl’s hands. I love to touch them and look at them and kiss them. What a blessing. I can almost see the dimples in Sean’s hands as I read your post.

    Like

  33. Whoops, that came out wrong. I meant that in a good way. My emotions sort of overcame me. I was very moved by this.

    Like

  34. How absolutely precious and awe-inspiring! I would have cried (my eyes are wet now for you) out of sheer joy.

    It is posts like this that make me look forward to the little moments ahead, not just the big ones.

    Like

  35. My eyes were prickling, and then a surprise chuckle as I reached the last line. I’ve been there, hobbling back to my own bed, countless times. Thanks for a beautiful post.

    Like

  36. AM, this is exactly why I’m glad God introduced me to you. You certainly see things that I often let go unnoticed. Thanks for focusing me back on the beauty of our children… again.

    Like

  37. As I write this Miller has fallen asleep on me….so sweet. I never tire watching my children either. It’s a wonderful feeling us mothers have. Treasure it forever.

    Like

  38. You are a beautiful writer. How eloquently you are able to put such deeply felt emotions into words.

    What a gift you have. Thank you for sharing it.

    Like

  39. Geez… I’m glad I didn’t put any makeup on today! What I had thought would be a quick look at your blog turns into a ten minute wait for my eyes to not be RED anymore and my nose to stop running so I can go out and run a few quick errands.

    You so beautifully put into words those thoughts and feelings we all have had as Mothers… mine too are all grown up but I’m enjoying the refresher course I’m getting with my granddaughter.

    Like

  40. Gorgeous, evocative writing without being saccharine-sweet. This was wonderful to read. Love the endnote of hobbling back to bed: tenderness collides with reality!

    Like

  41. What a lovely post! You have the ability to articulate all that is in the hearts of mothers everywhere…the blessing and the heartbreak that is motherhood. Thank you for sharing your gift with us…you write so beautifully.

    Like

  42. That was simply beautiful and I could entirely relate to the experience and feelings. My ds is now grown. I had him when I was young and we were as close as you and Sean.

    I remember kneeling by my son’s bed one night when he was 5 years old. As I was tucking him in and saying his prayers with him, I had a sudden realization that it wouldn’t always be like that. I would not always be the center of his world. He’d get older and eventually reach that age where it wouldn’t be cool among his peers to be “mommy’s little man”. He’d have to make his own mark on the world. I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. I cried myself to sleep that night.

    That day did come, as it must in every young man’s life. There were a few years in his early teens were public displays of affection were off limits, but by the time he was in his late teens, if he and a group of buddies were at our house and leaving together, he’d give me a kiss and a hug goodbye without a self-conscious care in the world. His buddies would often hug me, too, for that matter.

    As I said, my son’s grown now and he’s his own man, not needing me to map out his days, but he still comes to me for advice and he still shows me affection. I know that I’m important in his life, as he is in mine. I take joy in seeing the tender way he treats his girlfriend. I know she’s the object of his affections and I can handle that. I do miss those days of him being a little boy, though, my little man.

    Like

  43. That was so precious! What a great reminder to always listen to those little nudges to go to our children, b/c we may just be met with a sweet moment like that!

    Like

  44. I think that’s the Holy Spirit nudging you out of bed — to pray one more time over him — and create a memory so strong for your little one — that he’ll never forget his praying mommy!

    THANKS so much for sharing.

    Like

  45. Oh, Antique Mommy, I am so glad that Sean came along when you were older — old enough to appreciate the sudden glimpses of etheral wisdom that we are occasionally blessed to have. Your writing is so beautiful that we read it with our hearts instead of our conscious minds. You put your finger on the way I felt with my first grandson. I remember telling him that I wished I could know when the last time he would sit and cuddle on my lap happened — so I could treasure the moment in my heart forever. Now, he is 26 and a law student at Penn U and does not come home very often, and way to big to sit in my lap.

    Like

  46. That was really beautiful. It is a blessing to read things like this. It makes me understand even more that children really are a gift from God.
    God Bless You. – Jen P.

    Like

  47. Oh, good heavens. I’m crying…and it’s not even 8:30 in the morning.

    Thank you for being so honestly…religious? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but for never being ashamed of sharing what is in your heart. It’s the most refreshing thing I read in the morning!

    Like

  48. You have been blessed with an amazing way with words.

    I am not yet a mother but someday I hope to be and when I read about your experiences it gives me a thrill deep inside as I anticipate my own journey and the moments I will have with the little one (or ones) God blesses me with.

    Thank you for sharing yourself.

    Like

  49. Thank you for once again bringing reality to an awesome height. You are a great writer and your words give hope to the reader the God is there for us at each and every turn of events in our lives. Enjoy that small boy while you can, I know you are!!

    Like

  50. I didn’t know I was going to cry this morning but you so beautifully write all of the feelings that come with being a mother, I couldn’t help myself. Enjoy those sweet days, my son is going to be 18 and my twins, boy and girl, will be 15 soon. I just don’t know where the time has gone but if I close my eyes for a moment, I can still smell my babies and feel their precious hands in mine. Bless you.

    Like

  51. Well you have managed to destroy my eye makeup…again. My coworkers are now used to me crying at your posts. I don’t have kids, but I look forward to such touching moments when I do. Until then, I’ll just cry over yours and Sean’s.

    Like

  52. Oh Dear Lord girl, you got me crying in my office this morning already.
    That was the most beautiful, touching and comforting post I have ever read. Thank you so much. My little guy is now 12 going on 20. Last night he asked me to sit next to him on his bed – I don’t know how many more times I am going to be asked, but like you I am going to take each one and enjoy every single milisecond of it.

    Roxanne
    Take care and have a wonderful day.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s